Metro

Opponent hurls ultimate insult at NY mayor: He roots for the Red Sox

Mayor Bill de Blasio (left), Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis, and independent candidate Bo Dietl (right) attended a debate at Symphony Space in New York Tuesday.
Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News/Associated Press
Mayor Bill de Blasio (left), Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis, and independent candidate Bo Dietl (right) attended a debate at Symphony Space in New York Tuesday.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who grew up in Cambridge, remains an unapologetic Boston Red Sox fan, despite getting criticized for it by a mayoral race opponent during a wild debate on Tuesday night, a de Blasio spokesman said.

“The Mayor’s still very much a Sox fan and was as upset as anyone when they got knocked out. He doesn’t root for the Yankees, and I don’t see that ever changing,” press secretary Eric Phillips said in an e-mail.

On Tuesday night, de Blasio and two other mayoral candidates engaged in a raucous debate. While the moderator promised that the evening would be a conversation about the issues, that did not last long, the New York Times reported.

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“First of all, I’ve got to say, go Yankees!” de Blasio opponent Bo Dietl yelled in his opening statement, adding, “I know one thing. Mayor de Blasio’s a Boston Red Sox fan! He’s not a Yankee fan.”

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De Blasio is facing off with Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican; and Dietl, an independent. De Blasio is heavily favored to win. Malliotakis and Dietl double-teamed the mayor throughout the night in the rough and tumble event.

The serious issues discussed included crime, affordable housing, and the city’s budget.

De Blasio, a graduate of Rindge and Latin High School, has been open about rooting for the Sox. “I am very much a Red Sox fan,” de Blasio said in a 2013 Globe interview. “I can name you more players than you could possibly imagine. It’s just part of who I am.”

De Blasio periodically gets flak in New York for being a Sox fan and not attending Yankees games. A New York Post headline in May blared, “This is how much Bill de Blasio hates the Yankees.” One of his primary opponents staged a mock debate in August with a stick wearing a Red Sox hat that represented de Blasio.

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The Red Sox were eliminated this week from the baseball’s playoffs by the Houston Astros. But the Yankees remain alive. With the best-of-five series tied at 2-2, the Yankees are heading Wednesday to a crucial Game 5 in the AL Division Series against the Cleveland Indians.